Reyn (reynspirit) wrote in dps_connect,

Affirmative Overreaction

DPS students were cited in this editorial entitled "Affirmative Overreaction" in The Michigan Daily this week (in case anyone is wondering, the title of the newspaper is not a misnomer, but this University of Michigan student newspaper is published only weekly during the summer). Although I only gave the article a cursory reading and its main idea seems to be to criticize BAMN's (a controversial student group who supports Aff. Action "by any means necessary") leadership and their refusal to let Ward Connerly, an African American anti-AA activist, speak without interruption on the U's campus, the performance of DPS students on standardized exams have often been a hot topic in the suits brought against the U to end AA. The article states that many DPS students are recruited by BAMN to march in pro-AA rallies, and sort of implies that their sentiment is lost due to the group's antagonizing tactics. Soooooo:

What are your thoughts on AA?

Do DPS students need it?

How long?

What can students do to increase scores?

If you've marched, why?

Feel free to answer any of these questions.

As for me, I have a very conflicted view. Although I'm a recent UM grad and a current law student, I've never participated in any of BAMN's events. I've spoken with some of its leaders on occasion, but to be honest, I just didn't think the AA battle warranted protest rallies (at least not at the early stages of its criticism). Obviously, the courts would eventually decide the program's fate, which it has now done. And obviously the program is only a bandaid for deficiencies at the elementary and secondary school levels. Instead of hating "the man," I hated how students, often short-changed themselves. I hated how DPS teachers didn't teach shit, or taught the same remedial shit every year because 1) most of the students didn't listen the year prior, or 2) the teacher assumed the students didn't listen the year prior, or 3) they just didn't have any faith that we'd be able to handle the information. I'm not talking about the desperately poor students who have a hard time getting one meal a day (AA rarely, if ever, helps these students.) I'm talking about the students who choose to do their homework but don't realize until it's too late that they're being presented the most minimally-challenging education possible; or the students who choose not to do their homework, are well-fed and clothed, but hold the other students back because the teachers judge the entire class based on this attitude. I'm also talking about the teachers that I both hate and love because it's a human tendency not to want to do more work than you have to, forgetting that
I'll pay in the end. If BAMN wants to help, BAMN needs to get students marching in the city. This would send a message to DPS teachers and admin that students are willing to do everything in their power to prepare themselves for higher education-- which brings another question to mind. Are you current DPS students willing to do the work now or would you rather play catch-up later?

I realize this problem is far from easily solved, but it breaks my heart to see that my friends and relatives in Detroit are not getting the education they deserve. It also pisses me off that I didn't. All I can say is, please put in the work because it's a cold day when the university has to justify holding underrepresented minority students to lower standards because it benefits the entire campus. Diversity is great, but as an individual, you want to be more than a qualified diversity-admit; you want to look in the mirror and know that you worked your ass off the entire way up, despite the deficiencies in your environment. I think AA is justified for the hard-working students that are inevitably short-changed by a variety of uncontrollable factors. However, I'd much prefer that the problem be simultaneously attacked at the elementary and secondary school levels. I'm sure they're doing "something" but whatever it is, it isn't enough.

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